Engford Family: Harry, Ruthie, David, Lois.
David Engford was the only non-performing member of the Engford family. His sister, Ruthie, provides this information. "David wasn't really interested in becoming a performer, although he practiced many things as a boy. Walking a wire was something he liked. Practicing as catcher in a flying act. Doing handstands on top of a stool or chair, etc. When we were on tour, he did most of the driving. Hauling around all our equipment. Assisting in any way needed. He ran spotlight at times. Helped the Show put up scenery, etc. David always assisted in my aerial act too. Swinging me, taking me off the web when I came down."
As Ruthie says, "David did practice with Ronnie Abbot of the "Flying Abbots" working as a catcher and also worked with me. (Photos) He has been my lifelong support and inspiration, as I was learning gymnastic and aerial work. Always remaining in the background, and pushing me out front."
David was also an accomplished musician. His favorite instrument was the guitar, but also played the drums.
This letter from N W Ayer & Son, dated Sept. 21, 1955, asking for information regarding David's Calvert School Service (this was at a time when correspondence courses were not readily available) asks some interesting questions. Lois Engford began to answer the questions almost immediately. We have a partially completed draft of her response. Ruthie is also taking these courses.
David's mother provides an interesting description of "life on the road" in her draft response:
David was an employee of the Circus World Museum in 1964-65. His family performed there for the summers beginning in 1964. David now lives in Baraboo, Wisconsin and is frequently seen at the Museum. The photo below was taken by Eldon "Buster" Bailey in 1964.
Back row l-t: Edna Dee Curtis Christiansen, Paul Luckey, Mayme Ward, Jorgen Christiansen,
Ethal Romelfanger, ’Raz-Bo’ Clown - Richard Bennett, John Herriott, Mary Ruth Herriott, Colleen Barnhart,
Lois Engford, Harry Engford, ’Esrteleta’ - Ruthie Engford
Knelling: Frank Braun, David Engford, Edith Barnhart, Larry McNurlin
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